September 25, 2014
If this is your first visit to GA Tech for a SCAT hosted meet, we wish you luck! I thought I would just give you a few things to know before you go.
First – give yourself a little extra time – traffic on 75 can be unpredictable on weekends so give yourself an extra 15 minutes or so.
Parking – the charge will be $15 a day at the door or you can prepay online for $20.70 for BOTH days (check the link from our website). We recommend prepay online to save the hassle and some money if you are competing both days.
Food/Snacks – a few parents have asked us to provide some guidelines on this. First – there is a snack bar at the pool – I can’t speak on the pricing/quality but I do remember they also sell smoothies. I’m not a nutrition expert, but my personal thought is that your swimmer will be there for about 4 hours and small little snacks are ok, but I typically reserved meals for post race. Bananas, ½ whole wheat bagels, peanut butter, apple slices were always good choices. Just a bit to stave off hunger, but I never enjoyed racing with too full of a stomach. For our younger swimmers, the races aren’t too long so keep it simple and stay hydrated. Water bottles are a must wherever you go. Celery is a great choice for nervous snackers J
Heat sheets – Normally you will have to purchase heat sheets (programs) at the meet, but because SCAT is the team host, you should have received your heat sheet via email. Please print this at home and review the events your swimmer will be in before you even get to the pool. Most of the kids write the Event/Heat/Lane on their arm or leg. This helps everyone! Start teaching your swimmer how to look at the heat sheet so they can see how many kids are in the event BEFORE their race. This will help them know how much time they need to get to the blocks in plenty of time.
Your swimmers arm may look something like this…
This tells your swimmer (and any coach or timer on deck that may be able to assist your swimmer) that the first race your swimmer will be competing in is:
Event #15, Heat 2, Lane 1 – the race is 50 Breast.
I have highlighted the HEAT column as this will determine which pool your swimmer will race in!
WHAT!!!! Yes, it’s true – at the GA Tech meets we utilize TWO racing pools so your swimmer will not only have to know WHEN they need to get behind their blocks, they will have to make sure they are at the correct pool.
Sounds confusing and awful for a first timer, but trust us – your kids will get the hang of it and so will you. That’s not to say they might not miss a race in their swimming career. It has happened to everyone at some point – even our senior swimmers! We know it happens. We don’t want it to, but we understand. The good news is they will probably only do it once and the world doesn’t end. IF they miss their heat and the event is still going, please teach your swimmer to walk immediately to the starter/official of the race. No tears, no drama, just promptly tell the official what happened. In the event that they can help, they generally try. This is not a guarantee, but they will generally try. Either way, go to the official ( the ones wearing all white standing on deck) before you go to your coach.
The HEAT is what will determine which pool you will race.
§ ODD HEATS are swum at the DIVING WELL end of the pool,
§ EVEN HEAT will start at the SCOREBOARD end of the pool.
Please remember it is the HEAT, not the event number. This may even help you know where you want to sit in the stadium when you arrive.
Speaking of the stadium seating – the good news is that you will not need to bring your own chairs, blankets or tents to this meet. The chairs have backs on them, so you may not need a visit to your chiropractor at the end of the weekend.
Your swimmer will have to get to the pool deck by using the stairway at the end of the stadium seating where you see the huge scoreboard. You will not be allowed on deck with your swimmer. Again, this can be unsettling the first time you attend this meet. The SCAT coaches are always located at the table on the stand at the Diving Well end of the pool. The table is located between the diving well and the competition pool. Typically the younger SCAT swimmers will sit together on the bleachers near this area. Some swimmers opt to sit in the stands with their parents, but we hope that eventually they will join their teammates on deck.
The expectation is that your swimmer will get themselves to their races on their own. If you need help with this, please email me and we can discuss some options if you still are not sure how this works. I have compassion for you on this as I still remember when my 7 year old was at a meet and I thought there was NO WAY he would figure it out….. somehow he did J
The expectation is that your swimmer should check in with their coach BEFORE and AFTER every race! This is an important time that we (as coaches) get to help them prepare for the race and discuss what happened after. These can be some of the BEST teaching moments your swimmer ever receives! If they run to you after a race, ask them if they talked to their coach. If not, send them back – this will help them develop the habit.
Speaking of “after the race” – Some great questions to ask your swimmer… What did YOU think? How did it feel? What did you like best about your race? What did your coach say?
Great race, best time…. Awesome! A hug and “congrats” are a fun way to celebrate!
No best time, finished last in their heat…. Not the end of the world! These are some positive ways to help keep the focus on what/how your swimmer is feeling rather than being hyper focused on their “performance” only. Swimmers will not always get best times and it is helpful to know how to help them keep this in perspective. By asking them what they liked or disliked or what their coach said, you can help them by saying, “That’s great – that gives you something to think about in practice next week.”
Speaking of “finishes” – remember this is an invitational and there are several heats per event. Winning a heat does not mean your swimmer won the race. Final results are posted upstairs in the hall way and downstairs on the pool deck underneath the scoreboard. As coaches, we typically do not focus on “placing” at these early meets. We are looking for the techniques we have been teaching them the beginning of the season. We are looking for good dives, tight streamline push offs off the wall, not taking breaths their first stroke on a freestyle pull, not breathing from the flags to the finish… etc. Legal strokes, legal turns …. We know how many things we are expecting them to focus on and be proficient, we know we cannot control the clock, but we can help your swimmer concentrate on the things they are in control of. These are the things we are talking to your swimmer about post race. We have confidence the times will continue to improve if we help your swimmer control the right things. We are as excited as they are when they achieve a best time, but it is not always our ONLY measure of a “good race.” Helping your swimmer understand this can be the toughest part of our job.
Most importantly ask if they enjoyed the race. Are they enjoying the meet and the experience of racing? Are they getting to know their team mates. These are the things that will keep your swimmer interested in this great sport. Keep it fun and enjoy the day!